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Internet Monitoring Safety And Security

(category: Security, Word count: 343)
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Internet monitoring is a necessary part of having internet service. Whether you allow your children to surf the web or if you have the need to monitor employees, effective programs can be used to help you to do this simply. There are many aspects that can be monitored and the results can be delivered to you privately. No one needs to know that you are using internet monitoring technologies either.

There are many options when it comes to internet monitoring. No matter what your need is in these products, you can expect to use high tech gadgets and software. But, they are simplistic to use. Many software programs that monitor internet usage will tell you such things as how long the individual was online as well as what websites they visited, who they chatted with in instant messages, as well as anything that they input into the web. Emails can be tracked as well as a number of other things.

Why should you use internet monitoring? If you are not sure your employees are using their time on the job for job related tasks, this can help you know for sure. If you are unsure of who your spouse is chatting with at night, consider the use of these monitoring solutions. Do you know if someone is stalking your child as they play games on the web? If they use instant message software, find out who they are talking to and what they are saying. Internet monitoring is really a necessary part of keeping people safe and your business under control. Effective internet monitoring software products can be purchased and installed quickly and discreetly. Be in the know.

There are also many information portals now devoted to the subject and we recommend reading about it at one of these. Try googling for "internet monitoring" and you will be surprised by the abundance of information on the subject. Alternatively you may try looking on Yahoo, MSN or even a decent directory site, all are good sources of this information.

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How To Be The One That Got Away In Phishing Attacks Phishing Is On The Rise

(category: Security, Word count: 445)
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Every dad worth his weight in salmon eggs and shiny lures has at least one great fishing story-usually about the great catch that got away. Unfortunately, too few dads have stories about how they avoided getting caught in a different kind of fishing caper-the online variety known as "phishing."

Phishing attacks are perpetrated by criminals using fake Web sites and other tactics to trick people into sharing personal information online. These scams are helping fuel the nationwide escalation in identity theft. According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, the number of phishing sites reported each month more than quadrupled, from 2,854 sites in April 2005 to 11,976 in May 2006.

"People can avoid phishing attacks by learning the telltale signs of these scams and using phish-fighting technology," said John Scarrow of Microsoft Corp., which offers free technology to help protect people from phishing e-mail and Web sites.

The Microsoft Phishing Filter alerts people to and blocks known or suspected phishing sites. Already available for no charge in the Windows Live Toolbar and as an MSN Search Toolbar Add-in, the filter is also included in Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Vista. In addition, the SmartScreen e-mail filtering technology available in Windows Live Mail, MSN Hotmail, Office Outlook and Exchange Server helps block e-mail messages that can lure people to phishing sites.

Weekend fisherman Robert Marvin has learned how to avoid phishing scams by applying tactics similar to those of the wily salmon that evade his lures. "We carefully review e-mails and Web sites that request personal information," said Marvin, a father of two who runs a mutual fund. "We don't 'bite' just because it looks official." He also maintains a credit card with a low limit for all online purchases.

Staysafe.org offers the following tips to avoid phishing scams:

(*) Never enter personal information, such as credit card or Social Security numbers, into Web sites reached via links in anonymous e-mail messages.

(*) Avoid clicking on links to Web sites contained in e-mail messages, particularly when updating account information or changing passwords. Instead, type addresses directly into the browser or use personal bookmarks.

(*) Check for misspellings or typos in the online address, as well as e-mail addresses containing "@" somewhere other than directly before the business' or Web site's name.

(*) Double-click on the yellow padlock icon in the bottom right-hand corner of business Web sites. The name that comes onto the screen should match the name of the site.

Microsoft also recommends that users create different log-in names and passwords for different sites.

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Ten Steps To Reduce Your Risk Of Identity Theft

(category: Security, Word count: 740)
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You've probably heard about identity theft on television or read about it in the newspaper, and you may already be aware of the damage these crimes can cause victims and their families. What you may not know is how to protect yourself from these attacks. Below you'll find ten steps that can help you minimize your chances of becoming another identity theft statistic.

1. Invest in a shredder - Never throw anything away without shredding it first. Identity thieves will dig through dumpsters and trash bags looking for credit card receipts, voided checks, paid bills, credit card offers, and other items which provide them with your personal information.

2. Mail everything from the post office - Leaving your outgoing mail in or on your mailbox is an invitation to have it stolen by an identity thief. Not only can they get all of your personal information from the check, but they can even alter the check and cash it themselves. Instead, drop it by the post office or another mailbox.

3. Use a post office box - Incoming mail is also a target for identity thieves. Your bills, checks, even junk mail can be used by these thieves to steal your

personal information. If you have a post office box, then your mail will be delivered safely to that box.

4. Have a non-published phone number - Some identity thieves will also use the telephone in an attempt to get your personal information. For example, one scam involved a caller telling a person he or she had won a government grant that was going to be directly deposited into their checking account. Of course, the caller needed the person's checking account number to deposit the money. If your phone number isn't available, then you won't be harassed by these calls.

5. Check your accounts weekly - If you don't already, you need to get in the habit of checking the balances of all your financial accounts on a weekly basis. Waiting for monthly statements isn't good enough because by then your account could have been completely drained.

6. Check your credit report yearly - Every year, you should request free copies of your credit report and check them for any errors, such as credit cards or loans you never took out. If you find out now that someone is using your identity, you can start correcting the problem before you need to use your own credit.

7. Memorize PIN numbers and passwords - Never write down your PIN numbers or passwords. No place is a safe place to keep these important pieces of information. Keep them in your memory so no one can steal them. Also, make them more complicated than an ordinary word or your birthday. It shouldn't be easy for anyone to guess.

8. Keep only basic information on checks - Your checks should only include basic information about you, such as your name and address. Your social security number should never be printed on your checks. If it is, then you're basically handing over the keys to your identity to any thief who comes in contact with your check.

9. Eliminate unwanted credit card offers - Those credit card offers you throw away can be used by identity thieves. They simply have to complete the application and change the address to have a card sent to them in your name. You should shred them, but you can also call 1-888-567-8688 or visit http://www.optoutprescreen.com to opt-out of the credit card offer mailing list so you'll stop receiving them.

10. Carry only necessities - Never carry anything in your purse or wallet that isn't necessary, such as extra deposit slips, social security cards, birth certificates, etc. The more personal information your purse or wallet contains the more valuable it will be to an identity thief if it is lost or stolen.

Although we only promised ten steps, we're throwing in an extra one to help you protect yourself even further.

11. Go electronic - Bank statements, most bills, and many other documents can all be viewed electronically so you never have to worry about them being stolen out of your mailbox or your trash. Contact your financial institution, credit card companies, and utility providers about the availability of this option. As an extra bonus, many of these businesses offer incentives to individuals who sign up for these electronic programs.

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My Spyware Nightmare Your Lesson

(category: Security, Word count: 787)
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Have you asked yourself any of these questions lately?

1. Why is my brand new computer slowing down to a crawl?

2. Why is it taking so long to load a basic word processor?

3. Why do I have so many popups? Where are they coming from?

4. Why do I keep being sent to places I did not ask to go?

5. Where are these embarassing popups coming from? I never visit sites like that!

I did. I was ignorant. I was slow and it cost me a brand new computer. Here is my story.

A couple of years ago, we bought a new eMachine for my wife. She had just enrolled in school and needed something better for her school work. Prior to that, we had an older HP machine. I believe it was a pentium II. It worked pretty well, though a little slow. I wanted us to get another HP, but she wanted an eMachine. Her cousin had one and she thought it was good. I did not like eMachines a lot and did not think highly of them. She was bent on having one so we bought one.

With the arrival of the new computer, the HP was quickly abandoned. I was pretty much the only one that used it. Not because of my disdain for eMachine, but becasue the HP was more in a central location. Our three boys loved the new machine and spent quite some time on it. I was eventually won over to the eMachine and I must confess, it turned out to perform excellently well. It was good on speed and the resolution was great.

Several months down the road, I noticed how the new computer was slowing down. I knew in my mind it was the eMachine. They were no good. And then I thought it was the dial up connection. But I soon realized that it was also slow when I was offline. It was taking long to open up applications and even longer to load webpages. I also noticed there were strange windows openning up at the most awkward times. Some of the pages were to sites I would not ordinarily visit. May be the boys are going to places that we don't know about. As a concerned parent, I asked them and they promptly denied. I was still not sure they did'nt. They were teenagers.

As time passed, it became more difficult to do anything on the eMachine. We gradually migrated back to the HP and there was no immediate need to find out what was wrong with it.

Finally, it was time to act. I was ready to find out what the problem was. I started asking questions and doing querries on google. I was encouraged to get a good popup blockers. I did and it did not do much. That computer was far gone and corrupted. I had waited too long. I was not sure what was going on and did not know where to ask. The warrantee on the computer had also expired.

One afternoon, I turned the computer on to take another look and was greeted by a blank screen. The monitor had also quit I said to myself. Now I knew almost for sure it was the eMachine. They were really no good. My wife disagreed. But to be sure, I hooked the monitor up to the HP and it came alive. So it was'nt eMachine after all. I was a little embarrassed.

I reconnected the monitor and rebooted and was again faced by a blank screen. The following week, I took the cpu to a repair and they told me the computer was dameged beyond repair. I retrived it and took it to a sencond repairman and it never came back.

You know, lightening they say does not strike the same spot twice. But spyware is different. It can strike the same spot many times. Early 2005, I bought another computer, having out grown the HP. Months latter, I noticed the same exact symptons that ruined the eMachine. The slow down, the multiple popups, redirects to undesirable websites, they were all there. This time I did not wait. That afternoon I was frantic. I began searching for a quick answer. It was not until late that night that I found a product that worked for me. And once I found the right solution, spyware was no longer an issue to me.

Spyware can make your online experience a nightmare if you are not forward thinking about internet security. The good news is that there are plenty of products out there that can cure that effectively.

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Web Site And Network Stress Monitoring

(category: Security, Word count: 642)
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In today's world, organizations are fast accepting the web and related applications as part of their overall business strategies. They understand that the Internet provides them with the potential to target a very focused set of customers spread across a very diverse geography.

For a successful Internet presence, it is important that the web server and web applications are reliable, scalable and always available, irrespective of traffic volumes to the site.

To achieve this, you must test all your hardware and software using tools to check your web site, usually called web stress tools. These tools should ideally be used even before the site is on the World Wide Web. They can provide a reasonably good estimate about the performance of your web site and a company can identify issues before they arise.

Such issues might include slow response times while opening the web site, a limited number of users able to simultaneously browse the web site, or a cap on the number of requests that can be handled by a processing application. Based on the results, a webmaster can identify the bottlenecks and take corrective actions before they result in lost sales.

What does web site stress testing do?

Web stress testing provides performance reports for varying elements. For example, users might be complaining that your shopping site is taking ages to load and most search results are showing errors message. Using a web stress tool, you can check the performance of your web server. To your surprise, the CPU utilization on the Server may be just 20%. But if you are also monitoring the database application, you might find that it is already running at 100% and is the most likely reason for poor performance.

Stress tools can be deployed as software solutions where you can monitor the key components of your servers such as the CPU, memory and hard disk utilizations. They are built with user-defined alerts that can be triggered if a particular parameter crosses a threshold set by the user. As an example, you can configure an alert that must be generated whenever the CPU utilization crosses the 80% mark. Although this is helpful in identifying system bottlenecks, the results are limited to web servers that are connected to your internal network.

Why a stress monitoring network?

If the target audience is across the globe, or even across the country, a company needs to monitor its web site and applications stress loads from different locations across the globe. The web server must provide reasonable performance from wherever customers are located. In such a situation the software solution is unlikely to meet the company's requirements.

Organizations must use external web site stress monitoring tools, which provide detailed performance reports on servers that are tested from different locations. The outcome of these tests can help in fine-tuning the settings at their ISPs and in optimizing performance of the servers. Besides this, external stress testing also include monitoring of other network infrastructures that connect to the web server, such as routers, firewalls and leased lines that provide the back-end connectivity.

This is why Dotcom-Monitor's load stress test tool offers its clients stress test agents located in various countries such as the USA, UK and Germany. This service provides performance data about the web site from these and other locations spread across the globe.

So if you run a business on the Internet, it is important that your web site and all associated web applications perform to their optimum levels. They handle transactions quickly and in turn offer faster response times to your user requests. Using web stress services you can get information you need to ensure superior throughputs and gain a reputation for high-performance dependability among your customers.

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Protecting Your Self Against Online Credit Card Fraud

(category: Security, Word count: 556)
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Today more and more people are looking to the internet to do their shopping. With online stores popping up all over the internet the urge to spend money on the World Wide Web has never been stronger. The unfortunate thing is that the urge for scam artists to take your money has never been stronger. So how do you protect your self from these thieves? If you follow these simple steps I promise you'll enjoy shopping on the internet more having taken these precautions.

The first thing you should consider when buying online is if the website you are shopping on is secure? These days most retail websites have secure pages where you enter your personal information but that doesn't mean that all sites are secure. The first step in making sure that your information is secure is to check the address bar and look for "https" this means that you are on a secure page. If the address begins with "http" the page is not secure and your information should not be given. The second step in determining if the website is safe is to look for the picture of a closed lock or an unbroken key. These pictures can be found in the bottom right corner of your browser window. When the lock is open or the key is broken the page is not secure. The last thing to look for is mention of secure certificates or "SSL". These logos usually appear near the bottom of the screen. If you are still not sure if the website is secure you can always ask them through e-mail (make sure to save the reply just in case).

Credit card fraud is still relatively common. Even with all the security that some of the larger websites have, these con artists are still able to scam some people. So what do you do if you suspect that you have been scammed? The first thing you should do is determine if the charges on your credit card are really unauthorized. This is why you should save all of your receipts. Sometimes when a company makes a charge to your card it might show up on your statement as a charge from a name that you don't recognize so it is important to check your receipts and confirmation e-mails (the company will usually tell you what the purchase will be charged as in the confirmation) to make sure that the mystery charges aren't legitimate. Once you are sure that you have been scammed either by the store or by someone that has somehow stolen your credit card information your next step is to contact the credit card company. Some companies such as VISA and MasterCard offer zero liability for fraudulent charges. If your credit card issuer does not have a zero liability policy then you are only liable for up to $50 according to federal law.

Shopping on the internet is more popular than ever and with the flood of internet shoppers comes a wave of con artists. Protect your self from these crooks. Follow the information I have laid out for you and remember to save your receipts, look for secure pages and if that isn't enough then only buy from well established websites that you have had good experiences with.

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Subvirt The Prototype Of The Next Generation Malware

(category: Security, Word count: 473)
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In the last few years the most dangerous computer viruses are disappearing. Macro viruses and script viruses are almost extinct.

But in the meantime there was an increase of trojan, backdoor, rootkit and spyware which can be used to remotely control a pc. There was an increment of malware that includes spyware programs from 54.2% to 66.4%.

Rootkits are becoming famous. They are used by virus writers to remotely control infected computers and use them for stealing money and perform DDOS attacks.

In the Windows world the rootkit term is usually used to describe viruses and malware programs that use a special technique to hide into the system environment. In Unix environment, rootkits are usually rewritten tools of the operating system that are used to hide data from the users. For example the ls command can be rewritten so that it doesn't show certain files.

There exist user-mode rootkits and kernel-mode rootkits. User-mode rootkits are basically normal processes that can be easily detected and eliminated. Kernel-mode rootkits are hidden inside of the operating system itself and caan be very hard to detect and eliminate.

SubVirt is the name of a research project directed by Microsoft with the help of the University of Michigan. Currently malware software and detection software have both control of the system at kernel-mode level. Virus writers are trying to find the best way to hide their malware in front of detection software and maintain at the same time the have maximum control over the machine.

The result of this research is the VMBR, Virtual Machine Based Rootkit. A Virtual Machine is a special software layer that works between the hardware and the operating system. On a Virtual Machine also the operating system runs in user mode. The rootkit would install itself between the operating system and the hardware and would have a total control of the system.

In order to work, the VMBR needs to start up before the operating system, so it's necessary to modify the Master Boot Record in order to make it work. At computer startup the Virtual Machine would start and then it would run the operating system in a virtual environment. Potentially it can run two operating systems at the same time, the user's Windows and a specially crafted malware operating system that would be invisible to the Windows system and to the user.

The problem with this type of malware software is that it would slow down the system. During their tests Microsoft noticed that the system sturtup takes about 30 seconds more with the Virtual Machine and it eats about 3% of system resources.

It's also important to point out that the virtual machines that Microsoft used had the size of about 100 megabytes, which is too much to fit in a common MBR.

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Where Spyware Lurks On The Internet

(category: Security, Word count: 244)
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Spyware has to be the most talked about PC security threat of 2005. It has now surpassed the computer virus as the No. 1 menace to computer user both at home and in the enterprise. Despite efforts from Microsoft and independent security software companies, the spyware menace is set to continue through 2006 and beyond. The research firm Radicati Group expect worldwide anti-spyware revenue to surpass $1 billion by 2010.

There are numerous types of spyware with some more dangerous than others. At one end of the spectrum spyware pushes annoying ads to your computer as is usually referred as "Adware." It is still spyware as the ads are generally pushed to you based on your surfing habits. A bad infection can also dramatically impact your computer's performance as your desktop slowly gets overwhelmed with pop up adverts.

At the other end of the spectrum spyware programs can record what you do on your computer including individual key strokes. This information is then shared with a third party. This data is then sold to marketing companies or used to profit from. For example, the program may have captured your bank log-in details or credit card information.

Profit from these activities drives spyware development and deployment. According to anti-spyware vendor Webroot Inc advertising revenue generated from spyware is much more lucrative than trying to generate profit through Spam Email.

Here are the common ways spyware gets onto your computer:

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Detect Spyware And Adware And Remove It Without Spending A Dime

(category: Security, Word count: 580)
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Adware and spyware have become a world-wide computer problem from using the World Wide Web. They have turned into malware because of their viral and extremely hostile behavior. Along with the hazards of identity theft and deceit at hand on the Internet, adware and spyware can be other than merely irritating. Here are some methods to detect spyware and adware and remove or merely avoid the adware and spyware and not outlay a dime on the most recent "anti-virus" software, such as Spyware Nuker.

1. USE Firefox. If you don't use the Internet very much, then maybe you don't understand a good deal concerning Firefox. All you need to comprehend is that it is a browser that performs VERY nicely and has excellent security protection.

2. DO NOT USE Microsoft Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer is similar to Swiss cheese. It seems to have an endless supply of security holes. Microsoft is ceaselessly sending out patches to fix all the flaws in the Internet Explorer 6.X and prior versions of the browser. Even though it can be "secured" by adding to thesecurity it may give away much of its functionality when set to highest security when specific exploitable features are turned off.

3. Use a software or hardware firewall (not only Windows XP Service Pack 2's firewall). This may be thought to be expensive and difficult to do but it is not. If you use a DSL or broadband cable connection your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may have issued you a DSL/Cable router that has a a firewall included with it. All you need to do is switch it on. This may force you to spend a few minutes to read the instructions.

If your ISP did not deliver you a DSL or Cable broadband router that includes a firewall you can shell out anywhere from $20 -$60 (or occasionally even cheaper when it includes a mail-in rebate) to get a router. If you use DSL you would require a DSL router. If you use Cable broadband ISP you would need a Cable Router. Brands such as Linksys have already built in firewalls and a feature known as NAT, Network Address Translation, which is extremely effective because it hides your actual IP address from the Internet. All routers are sold with directions on how to hook them up. If you desire to maintain you computer security free, merely use a free software firewall.

4. Detect Spyware and Adware using free Anti-spyware, anti-adware software. Lavasoft's Adaware and Spybot Search & Destroy are two superb methods of restoring your system for free. Majorgeeks.com is a favorite and trustworthy freeware website that has these and several additional outstanding spyware/adware cleaning and malware preventing software (including free downloadable firewalls).

The best approach is to use ALL of the options. Remaining proactive by surfing using a suitable browser and obtaining a firewall is critical, but it likewise helps to beware of other good anti-adware/spyware applications. If you get hit with a genuinely foul bit of malware that can not be cleaned using Adaware or Spybot, dig up yourself a geek. There are numerous big forums on the Internet committed to accomplishing nothing but to detect spyware and adware and remove them and other malware. In all likelihood if your computer is contaminated with it, hundreds of others prior to you have been contaminated and have previously figured out how to get rid of the malware.

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